Mediatek Dimensity 1200 macro 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Taiwan-based MediaTek traditionally plays second fiddle to silicon rival Qualcomm, but the company’s mobile chips are in scores of phones around the world. Figuring out the naming conventions and capabilities of these MediaTek processors can be a little daunting, though.

Don’t fret, as our MediaTek chipset guide tries to break things down for you. Read on for all the information you’ll need on MediaTek processors.

Flagship MediaTek 5G chipsets

Mediatek Dimensity 1200 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

MediaTek’s latest high-end 5G processors are the Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100, announced in January 2021. The two SoCs have several features in common, such as a similar octacore CPU (four Cortex-A78 and four Cortex-A55), the same GPU (Mali-G77 MP9), a 6nm manufacturing process, and the Helio M70 modem with sub-6GHz 5G support.

Other notable shared features include Wi-Fi 6, 5G+5G dual SIM, Bluetooth 5.2, and 4K/60fps video recording. Unfortunately, the processors don’t offer 8K recording capabilities, as we’ve seen with Samsung and Qualcomm’s top-end SoCs. 8K TVs are far from mainstream just yet, so this is an understandable omission.

The chipsets also support ray-tracing, which is a graphical technique used to create more realistic lighting and reflections. MediaTek confirmed that this is a software-driven approach, so don’t expect PC-like ray-tracing effects in mobile games that support this option.

The Dimensity 1200 is the more capable chipset, as it boasts a tri-cluster arrangement (one Cortex-A78 core clocked at 3GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores at 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores at 2GHz), support for refresh rates up to 168Hz, mildly upgraded machine learning silicon, and support for 200MP cameras.

 MediaTek Dimensity 1200MediaTek Dimensity 1100MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 PlusMediaTek Dimensity 1000C
CPU1x Cortex-A78 @ 3GHz
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
4x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
4x Cortex-A77 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
4x Cortex-A77
4x Cortex-A55
GPUArm Mali-G77 MP9Arm Mali-G77 MP9Arm Mali-G77 MP9Arm Mali-G57 MC5
Display168Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
144Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
144Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
120Hz at FHD+
Machine learningAPU 3.0
six cores
APU 3.0
six cores
APU 3.0
six cores
APU 3.0
four cores
ModemHelio M70 5G
4.7Gbps downlink
2.5Gbps uplink
Sub-6Ghz
Helio M70 5G
4.7Gbps downlink
2.5Gbps uplink
Sub-6Ghz
Helio M70 5G
4.7Gbps downlink
2.5Gbps uplink
Sub-6Ghz
2.3Gbps download, 1.2Gbps upload
Sub-6Ghz
Camera200MP single
32MP+16MP dual
4K/60fps recording
108MP single
32MP+16MP dual
4K/60fps recording
80MP single
32MP+16MP dual
4K/60fps recording
64MP single
32MP+16MP dual
4K recording
Process6nm6nm7nm7nm

Meanwhile, the Dimensity 1100 features a two-tiered CPU layout (four Cortex-A78 cores at 2.6GHz, four Cortex-A55 cores at 2GHz), support for refresh rates up to 144Hz, the firm’s APU 3.0 machine learning tech, and support for 108MP cameras.

In other words, we’re expecting the Dimensity 1200 to power flagship-tier devices while the Dimensity 1100 will likely power upper mid-range phones.

However, one rather curious choice is the fact that both processors offer the same Mali-G77 MP9 GPU that was in last year’s flagship silicon. And this wasn’t as powerful as the GPUs seen in last year’s Samsung and Qualcomm flagship SoCs. So those who value gaming performance will be better served by rival high-end processors from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, and Huawei. In fact, even phones with last year’s Snapdragon 865 will likely deliver better gaming results.

Prior to these new MediaTek chips, the firm’s latest and greatest processor was the 7nm Dimensity 1000 and 1000 Plus. The chip series first arrived inside phones last year, and marked the company’s first flagship processor since 2017’s Helio X range. Prominent features include an octa-core CPU (4x Cortex-A77 and 4x Cortex-A55), integrated 5G modem, 5G+5G dual SIM, a Mali-G77 MP9 GPU, and a six-core APU.

Other notable features include support for Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, 80MP cameras, 4K/60fps video recording, 144Hz refresh rate support, and support for the AV1 codec.

Expect MediaTek's flagship processors to lag behind the likes of Qualcomm when it comes to graphical performance.

The Dimensity 1000L was also launched early last year, which differs from the standard Dimensity 1000 SoC by offering lower clock speeds, according to MediaTek. The chipmaker then launched the Dimensity 1000C chipset in September, and it’s more like an upper mid-range chipset rather than a full-fledged flagship. The 1000C is essentially a hybrid of the Dimensity 1000 series’ flagship silicon and the mid-range Dimensity 820.

The Dimensity 1000C delivers the flagship’s octa-core CPU layout, featuring four Cortex-A77 and four Cortex-A55 cores for top-end CPU performance. But the GPU has seen a downgrade to the Dimensity 820’s mid-range Mali-G57 MP5 graphics, while the four-core APU is also a drop from the six-core machine learning silicon seen in the Dimensity 1000 series.

Unfortunately, the high-end Dimensity processors didn’t see the same level of adoption as Qualcomm’s flagship processors. We’re also expecting Qualcomm to provide stiffer competition this year, as the firm launched the Snapdragon 870, ostensibly to give OEMs a cheaper flagship option in addition to the top-end Snapdragon 888. The Snapdragon 870 is essentially a mildly upgraded Snapdragon 865 Plus, so it stands to reason that the Dimensity 1200 will offer slightly better CPU performance but inferior GPU capabilities in theory.

By far the biggest win for the Dimensity series outside China is the T-Mobile LG Velvet, which features the Dimensity 1000C silicon. The Realme X7 Pro is also scheduled to launch in India in February, and it’s powered by the Dimensity 1000 Plus processor. As for the Dimensity 1200 and 1100 series, Redmi has confirmed that it will offer a phone powered by the former chipset next month.

Notable flagship phones:

Mid-range 5G chipsets

The MediaTek Dimensity 820 chipset.

Mediatek also launched mid-range 5G SoCs in 2020, starting with the Dimensity 800. The processor is quite powerful on paper, featuring four Cortex-A76 CPU cores and four lightweight Cortex-A55 cores. This is a departure from arch-rival Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 series, which features two Cortex-A76 cores (plus six A55 cores).

Other noteworthy features include a Mali-G77 MP4 GPU, the Dimensity 1000’s Helio M70 5G modem (that means no mmWave), 90Hz support, a four-core APU for machine learning, and up to 64MP single-camera capture with multi-frame processing.

These aren’t the only mid-range 5G MediaTek chipsets launched last year, as the firm also delivered the Dimensity 820, Dimensity 800U, and Dimensity 720 processors in recent months. The former is a Dimensity 800 upgrade, featuring a Mali-G57 MP5 GPU, higher CPU clock speeds, and 5G+5G dual SIM. The Dimensity 800U, on the other hand, is essentially a Dimensity 800 variant, offering 5G+5G dual SIM but cutting back on the GPU front (Mali-G57 MC3).

Meanwhile, the Dimensity 720 dips below the 800 series in terms of capabilities, packing a Mali-G57 MC3 GPU and a less powerful octacore CPU design (2x Cortex-A76 rather than 4x Cortex-A76). It also tops out at a 90Hz refresh rate and lacks Wi-Fi 6 support.

 MediaTek Dimensity 800MediaTek Dimensity 820MediaTek Dimensity 720MediaTek Dimensity 700MediaTek Dimensity 800U
CPU4x Cortex-A76
4x Cortex-A55
4x Cortex-A76
4x Cortex-A55
2x Cortex-A76
6x Cortex-A55
2x Cortex-A76
6x Cortex-A55
4x Cortex-A76
4x Cortex-A55
GPUArm Mali-G77 MP4Arm Mali-G57 MC5Arm Mali-G57 MC3Arm Mali-G57 MC2Arm Mali-G57 MC3
Modem3.5Gbps download
Sub-6Ghz
N/A
Sub-6Ghz
2.77Gbps download
Sub-6Ghz
2.77Gbps download
Sub-6Ghz
2.3Gbps download
Sub-6Ghz
Camera80MP single
32MP+16MP dual
80MP single
32MP+16MP dual
64MP single
20MP+16MP dual
64MP single
16MP+16MP dual
64MP single
20MP+16MP dual
Machine learningAPU 3.0APU 3.0APU 3.0N/AAPU 3.0
Process7nm7nm7nm7nm7nm

The latest budget 5G chip from MediaTek is the Dimensity 700 (announced in November 2020), and it has a lot in common with the earlier Dimensity 720. But the big difference here is in the GPU, as it offers more budget-focused Mali-G57 MC2 graphics. It also seems like the new chip lacks machine learning silicon. It’s not all bad though, as the Dimensity 700 sees slightly higher CPU clock speeds and dual-SIM 5G support.

The mid-range and budget Dimensity processors haven’t landed in as many high-profile phones as Qualcomm’s mid-range 5G silicon. But it’s still seen landed in a healthy number of phones.

Notable phones:

Mid-range 4G

The MediaTek Helio P90 chipset.

MediaTek’s bread and butter isn’t in flagships though, as it’s a major player in mid-range segments and below. But its mid-range segment has been shaken up somewhat thanks to the arrival of a new chipset family.

MediaTek Helio G

mediatek helio g90 1

The MediaTek Helio G series is the newest family of chips in the brand’s arsenal, focusing on gaming and pure performance in general. All of these chips sport the firm’s HyperEngine technology for smoother gaming performance.

The Helio G90 and G90T were the first chips in the series, packing an octa-core CPU (two Cortex-A76 cores plus six Cortex-A55 cores) and Mali-G76 quad-core graphics. This means you can expect great system and gaming performance on paper. In fact, our own testing revealed that the G90T-equipped Redmi Note 8 Pro edged out the Snapdragon 730-toting Redmi K20 in benchmarks.

Other Helio G90 series specs include 12nm designs, simultaneous 2.4Ghz/5Ghz WiFi connections, up to 10GB of RAM, 64MP camera support, and an APU for machine learning.

 MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95MediaTek Helio G70/80/85
CPU2x Cortex-A76
6x Cortex-A55
2x Cortex-A75
6x Cortex-A55
GPUMali-G76 3EEMC4Mali-G52 MC2
AIAPU 2.0N/A
Camera64MP single
24MP+16MP dual
48MP single
16MP+16MP dual
ConnectivityCat-12 LTE
Up to 1Gbps downlink
Cat-7 LTE
Up to 300Mbps downlink

MediaTek followed up with the Helio G95 in September 2020, and it’s essentially a slightly upgraded Helio G90T. It mainly differs from the previous chipset by offering a 100Mhz clock speed boost to the GPU (from 800Mhz to 900Mhz).

Moving lower down the totem pole, we have the Helio G70 and G80/G85. They’re not as powerful as the above-mentioned chipsets but they still seem to offer great performance at this tier. The processors offer octa-core CPUs (two Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores), Mali-G52 MC2 graphics, and support for 48MP cameras. In other words, they line up well with the likes of the Snapdragon 665 and 662.

The Helio G70 has found its way into the ~$130 Realme C3, while the Helio G80 has landed in the ~$160 Redmi 9. So those looking for a solid experience in the sub-$200 segment should definitely consider phones with the G70 or G80/G85 processor.

Notable phones:

Helio P series

MediaTek’s mid-range to budget tier Helio P series has been around for ages, dating back to 2016’s Helio P10. This chip family has largely been usurped by the Helio G series, but the most capable members in this range right now are the Helio P90 and P95.

The P95 is essentially a mild upgrade to the P90 that we first saw at the end of 2018, and we really do stress the term “mild.” The two processors share the same octa-core CPU design (two Cortex-A75 and six Cortex-A55 cores), the same PowerVR GM 9446 GPU, and the same camera capabilities. In the case of the latter, that means 64MP sensor support, multi-frame noise reduction, and 4K recording.

In fact, the only major difference we can tell between the two chipsets is that the P95 now sports the company’s HyperEngine gaming enhancements. Either way, the processors also sport impressive machine learning hardware, such as an APU, and a dedicated AI Accelerator.

The Helio P65 is next on the totem-pole, launching in mid-2019. And it’s really a cross between the P9X series and the Helio G70/G80. That means a relatively powerful octa-core CPU (two Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores), budget-tier Mali-G52 MC2 graphics, Bluetooth 5, and 48MP camera support.

Probably the biggest downside, however, is that the processor lacks dedicated AI silicon. So machine learning tasks (e.g. image recognition, machine vision, face recognition/unlock) will consume more juice than on the previously mentioned SoCs.

 Helio P95Helio P90Helio P60/P70Helio P65
CPU2x Cortex-A75
6x Cortex-A55
2x Cortex-A75
6x Cortex-A55
4x Cortex-A73
4x Cortex-A53
2x Cortex-A75
6x Cortex-A55
GPUIMG PowerVR GM 9446IMG PowerVR GM 9446Mali-G72 MP3Arm Mali-G52 MC2
Camera64MP single
24MP+16MP dual
64MP single
24MP+16MP dual
32MP single
24MP+16MP dual (P60)
20MP+16MP dual (P70)
48MP snapshot (P70)
48MP single
16MP+16MP dual
Machine learningAPU 2.0APU 2.0APU 1.0N/A
Process12nm12nm12nm12nm

MediaTek’s P60 and P70 are older and a little less capable than the Helio P65 in many ways, launching in 2018. These chips offer older CPU cores, the Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, and Bluetooth 4.2. Furthermore, the Helio P60 and P70 only have basic snapshot support for 48MP cameras, so you can’t expect multi-frame processing (e.g. HDR, night mode) at this resolution.

The P60 and P70 have one ace up their sleeve though, and that’s dedicated AI silicon. So tasks like face unlock, AI-powered photography, and other ML-related activities should be more efficient here. As for specific differences between the P60 and P70, the P70 simply has slightly faster CPU and GPU clock speeds, as well as a slightly more efficient AI processor.

In any event, the Helio P series has largely made way for the Helio G series. So we’re not expecting to see plenty more chips in this family.

Notable phones:

MediaTek’s low-end processors

Motorola Moto E6 Plus in hand profile

MediaTek has a reputation for delivering low-end chips for entry-level phones. It’s slowed down in this regard over the years in favor of the mid-range segment, but it still has a notable presence at the ~$100 tier.

The firm’s low-end offerings are characterized by featuring lightweight Cortex-A53 CPU cores only (no heavy-lifting cores here), basic graphical capabilities, and 60Hz refresh rate support at best. Don’t expect to see 4K recording or 5G here either.

MediaTek’s most recent low-end chips are the Helio G35 and G25. Despite being part of the gaming-focused G series, these aren’t suitable for anything more than extremely lightweight 3D and 2D games. The firm also has a few near-identical, older chips that still see plenty of adoption, namely the Helio P35, Helio P22, and Helio A25.

All of these processors sport octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU cores, low-end PowerVR GE8320 graphics, and efficient, 12nm designs. Camera capabilities are pretty modest too, with none of the chipsets supporting more than 25MP shooters at best (nevermind 48MP).

 Helio P35/G35Helio P22/G25Helio A25Helio A22Helio A20
CPU8x Cortex-A538x Cortex-A538x Cortex-A534x Cortex-A534x Cortex-A53
GPUIMG PowerVR GE8320IMG PowerVR GE8320IMG PowerVR GE8320IMG PowerVR GE8320IMG PowerVR GE8300
Camera25MP single
13MP+13MP dual
21MP single
13MP+8MP dual
16MP single
13MP+5MP dual
21MP single
13MP+8MP dual
16MP single
13MP+5MP dual
Process12nm12nm12nm12nm12nm

Thought those processors were light on features and power? Then the Helio A22 and A20 might surprise you, cutting the CPU core count in half to just a quad-core Cortex-A53 setup. That means lag in system menus and the camera app isn’t out of the question at all.

These lowest of the low-end processors also offer similar entry-level PowerVR GPUs, display resolutions topping out at HD+, and modest camera credentials. But on the plus side, you’re getting Bluetooth 5 capabilities.

Notable phones:


That’s about it for our MediaTek chipset guide! We’ll be updating this article periodically to add new chipsets from the Taiwanese silicon designer.

Comments
Read comments